Gateway to poultry production and products

Risks to human health

Poultry production is one of the fastest-growing livestock subsectors, and this raises a number of health issues, not only for the people working with poultry but also for those consuming poultry products.

Most humans, in fact, often come into contact with poultry, either directly or indirectly. The greatest concern arising from such proximity is the risk of infection with the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus. Handling and slaughtering live, infected poultry poses the greatest hazard, but transmission can also occur through contact with droppings, feathers, organs and blood.

The consumption and handling of contaminated poultry meat and eggs can lead to food poisoning in people. The main causes of human intestinal infections from this source are bacteria, principally Salmonella and Campylobacter. Another threat to human health lies in the inappropriate use of antimicrobials in poultry production, leading to the development of antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms.

Effective control systems and policies are critical in ensuring product safety and in reducing risks to human health. 

Did you know?

  • Antimicrobial usage is particularly high in poultry and pigs, compared to other food-producing animals. 
  • Most of the estimated future growth of antimicrobial use is estimated to be within the animal production sector, in particular in pig and poultry production.